Top 5 questions in the Coastal Division


Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
Every team has issues, but these are the overriding questions that seem to be looming heading into the fall:

1. Who will be Virginia Tech's playmaker on offense?

The top four receivers are gone, so are leading rusher Branden Ore and both of his injured backups. It's gotten to the point where Frank Beamer and his staff gave serious consideration this spring to having Victor "Macho" Harris play both sides of the ball. Will freshman Darren Evans be able to carry the running game? Josh Oglesby? Can Ike Whitaker, a former quarterback, build upon a successful spring as a receiver? The defense under coordinator Bud Foster will reload. The offense? It might just have to steal Harris from the defense.

2. How much patience will Miami fans have?

Freshmen like Aldarius Johnson, Sean Spence and Marcus Forston are all oozing with talent, but there has to be some room for growing pains, and Florida isn't going to be the team to give it. The defense needs players to fill the voids left by defensive end Calais Campbell and free safety Kenny Phillips. And who knows how the quarterback role will play out with Robert Marve and Jacory Harris? With the move out of the Orange Bowl and so many talented freshmen, the conditions are perfect for a fresh start. However, the dividends might not be paid for another year.

3. Can Butch Davis take advantage of everyone else's weaknesses?

They beat Miami last year. Maryland, too. They lost by a touchdown to the ACC champs, Virginia Tech. In 2007, the Tar Heels lost six games by an average of four points. If quarterback T.J. Yates shows improvement -- which he should, now that his shoulder has healed -- and everyone else stays healthy, the Tar Heels might be an earlier surprise than expected. They're more experienced than last year and have a better understanding of Davis and his system, but depth remains an issue.

4. How will Georgia Tech fare in its first season under Paul Johnson's offense?

A lot of that depends upon how quickly Josh Nesbitt can grasp it. He has the ability, the problem is he missed half the spring with a groin injury. If he can't do it, a true freshman will have to. The Yellow Jackets should fumble their way through this first season, much like they did this spring. The best thing these guys have going for them is their defensive line, which might turn out to be the best in the league.

5. Will Duke win two games this year?

Well, that's how many the Blue Devils won in the past three seasons combined. Their schedule, one would think, is favorable enough to accomplish this, as the Blue Devils start the season with home games against James Madison, Northwestern (their lone win last season), and a Navy team no longer led by Paul Johnson. David Cutcliffe spent the spring getting these guys conditioned and actually looking like a football team. They appear to have bought into his system and have a talented quarterback in Thaddeus Lewis, but they have to find confidence in order to win.